Local artist Pierre Sylvain beautified Main Street last year with his colorfully painted recycle barrels. (read about it here). He is once again mixing art and utility, this time by painting brooms. I asked Pierre about his motivations in this unique new endeavor.
KS – So Pierre, you're painting brooms these days?
PS – Yes that's right.
KS – Why?
PS – Because someone asked me to.
KS - If I put something else in front of you, will you paint it?
PS – Yes.
KS - Would you paint a shoe?
PS - Yes (Pierre lifts up one foot to show the painted shoe creation he's wearing).
KS – Is there anything you wouldn't paint?
PS – If the price is right, I'll paint it.
KS – Who asked you to paint a broom?
PS – Fred Carroll, the Bum with the Broom.
KS – Oh yes, I know Fred. I see him sweeping all over town. He really cleans things up! If I may be so nosy, how much did you charge him to paint his brooms?
PS – There's no charge for Fred. I want to support Bums with Broom in any way I can.
KS – Did Fred explain why he wanted a Pierre Sylvain original broom instead of just using his plain handled brooms?
PS – No, he didn't say. I guess he likes my work.
KS – And for the design of the broom, did Fred ask for a specific theme or design?
PS – When he first asked, he wanted me to put a tiger on it, but I said I couldn't fit a tiger on a broom handle. So he said to just do anything. That's the way I like it - full creative freedom.
KS – Do you plan to continue painting brooms for Fred?
PS – I have my usual other projects going on, but yes, as long as Fred keeps sweeping and wants me to paint his brooms, I will. Fred is a very colorful character and that makes sense to have a colorful broom in his hand. He goes through a broom every week or two.
KS – What? Wow!
PS – Yeah he's a sweeping fool, that Fred.
KS – Didn't I read in Patch that Fred gave up Bums with Brooms, swearing he'd sweep no more?
PS – Yeah, I guess he did quit, but I guess he couldn't stay away.
KS – What kind of paint do you use?
PS – Acrylic.
Fred can be seen on sidewalks and corners all over Middletown providing his free cleaning service. The painted brooms provide the added function of making him more visible to drivers of cars when he's hard at work. Pierre Sylvain's artwork has been displayed at Gallore Gallery on Washington Street and is now on display at Imperial Carribean restaurant in Cromwell, Fiore II italian restaurant on Main Street in Middletown, Nora Cupcake Company on Main Street in Middletown, Cypress Grill on Route 17 in Middletown, Giovanni Hair Design in West Hartford, and most recently installed at Tesoro on Main Street in Middletown where they can be viewed from the street.